Pseudotropheus is a genus of rock dwelling (Mbuna) cichlids found in Lake Malawi. Like some other large cichlid genera, such as Cichlasoma, a number of related fishes have been recently re-assigned to different genera such as Tropheops or Maylandia (see also: Metriaclima). Mbuna literally means "rockdweller" and this description accurately depicts the lifestyle of these cichlids which mostly live in rocky areas. Most Pseudotrophine cichlids are algal grazers in the wild.
Like most cichlids from Lake Malawi, fish from this genus reproduce via maternal mouthbrooding. The males often have egg spots on their anal fins which attract spawn-ready females towards them where they attempt to retrieve the imitation eggs while the male emits sperm into her biting mouth, thus fertilizing the eggs. The female and male generally move in an intensive circular motion while they spawn. Eventually, the female retrieves all of her eggs and incubates them in her mouth without eating for 2–4 weeks depending on the species and the particular fish after which the fry are released.
There are currently 18 recognized species in this genus:
- Pseudotropheus ater Stauffer, 1988
- Pseudotropheus crabro (Ribbink & D. S. C. Lewis, 1982)
- Pseudotropheus cyaneus Stauffer, 1988 (Cyan hap)
- Pseudotropheus demasoni Konings, 1994
- Pseudotropheus elongatus Fryer, 1956 (Elongate Mbuna)
- Pseudotropheus fainzilberi Staeck, 1976
- Pseudotropheus flavus Stauffer, 1988
- Pseudotropheus fuscoides Fryer, 1956
- Pseudotropheus fuscus Trewavas, 1935
- Pseudotropheus galanos Stauffer & Kellogg, 2002
- Pseudotropheus longior Seegers, 1996
- Pseudotropheus minutus Fryer, 1956
- Pseudotropheus perspicax (Trewavas, 1935)
- Pseudotropheus purpuratus D. S. Johnson, 1976
- Pseudotropheus saulosi Konings, 1990
- Pseudotropheus socolofi D. S. Johnson, 1974 (Pindani)
- Pseudotropheus tursiops W. E. Burgess & H. R. Axelrod, 1975
- Pseudotropheus williamsi (Günther, 1894) (Red top williamsi)
There is at least two possible species which has not yet been described:
Fish from this genus are popular amongst tropical aquarists. They are relatively aggressive fish, usually requiring large aquaria with ample rock coverage for hiding and providing havens from aggression. It is usually important to keep a high population of fish in the aquaria to distribute the aggression. They are extremely hardy fish and can live nearly ten years. It is best to keep them with other African cichlids of similar size.